Carpio accepts Duterte’s debate challenge on issue of WPS

Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to debate the West Philippine Sea issue. At the same time, the former magistrate challenged the Chief Executive to resign.

“I gladly accept the challenge anytime at the President’s convenience,” Carpio said on Thursday.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Duterte again lashed out at Carpio and blamed him for the retraction of Philippine ship in the 2012 standoff with Chinese ships at Scarborough Shoal.

“Pareho naman tayong abogado, gusto mo mag-debate tayo? Dalawa, tatlong tanong lang ako. ‘Sino ang nagpa-retreat at anong ginawa ninyo after sa retreat?,” said Duterte.

In a statement, Carpio said he had limited knowledge of the incident because he had previously served as a magistrate in the Supreme Court.

“President Duterte should now resign immediately to keep his word of honor,” ani Carpio. “I state under oath that I was never involved in the decision to withdraw Philippine Navy ships from the West Philippine Sea during the 2012 Scarborough standoff.”

Carpio accepts Duterte’s debate challenge on issue of WPS

“I as my witnesses former President Benigno Aquino III and the Defense Secretary, Foreign Affairs Secretary, and the Chiefs of the Philippine Navy, Air Force and at that time,” according to the former magistrate.

Aside from Carpio, Duterte also blamed former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario for strengthening China’s forces and structures in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Carpio and Del Rosario were among the Philippine officials who took the lead in filing a lawsuit against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague for encroaching on the country’s territory.

The Philippines won the case in 2016, and the decision came months after Duterte was elected president.

China did not recognize the decision and asserted its claim to almost the entire South China Sea, including the WPS, based on what they believe is history and tradition.

In Duterte’s televised address on Wednesday, the president called it a piece of paper and he will throw the decision of the international court that won the Philippines.

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